The Avonworth basketball team celebrates their semifinal victory at the Events Center. Photo credit: Tyler Gallo

OPINION: Robert Morris should make it a tradition to host WPIAL events

Nathan Breisinger argues why the Events Center at Robert Morris should make it a tradition to host more WPIAL events in the facility to draw interest.

March 2, 2022

When the UPMC Events Center was in its preliminary stages, Robert Morris prioritized it as a space to house its men’s and women’s basketball teams and volleyball and draw in different outside events.

Since the building’s opening in 2019, Robert Morris basketball has taken center stage as its number one stakeholder, but the arena has also welcomed concerts, entertainment shows and high school sports.

Weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, both RMU basketball teams were amid their own Northeast Conference Tournament runs on their home court. The RMU games were complemented by two Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League boys basketball games.

Not only did the 6A semifinals games bring the energy inside the Events Center, but it allowed Robert Morris the opportunity to put their crown jewel on display.

With high school students and parents filling the seats to the brim, they had the chance to get a glimpse of what the campus of Robert Morris had in store. As people make their first turn onto campus, they get the sight of the bright and vibrant UPMC Events Center, and once inside, they get a look at the state-of-the-art arena the school has to offer.

If there is one marketing tool that the university can use to help interest high school students, it is putting the Events Center on display and making it a tradition to host high school games. Hosting WPIAL events also provide added revenue for the school.

On top of that, Robert Morris and the WPIAL have unwavering connections as the executive director of the WPIAL, Amy Scheuneman, is an alumna of RMU. She took over the highest position in the league’s front office in 2020.

In a previous interview, Scheuneman noted the opportunity to use the Events Center.

“That’s something we’ve worked very closely with the staff that facilitates the UPMC Events Center, and we will utilize it if it becomes a place we want to go.”

Following the two 6A basketball games in 2020, RMU hosted an exhilarating second-round PIAA Tournament game between Upper St. Clair and Butler, a rematch of the WPIAL semifinal game just a few weeks earlier.

Before the pandemic shut down the world and the university, these high school events highlighted the new cathedral on campus.

After a long hiatus from holding high school games in the Events Center due to the pandemic, the WPIAL volleyball championships were held at the arena in the fall of 2021.

Finally, high school basketball made its glorious return to Robert Morris this past week as five games were held between Saturday and Monday.

The arena provided a perfect location for Lincoln Park and Quaker Valley’s matchup, with both teams traveling from nearby areas. Another local team in Avonworth completed their comeback on Monday in front of a strong presence from their fan base. The teams’ respective student sections brought the energy as well.

Each game played in the Events Center meets with positive remarks and feedback from patrons, teams and media professionals.

Robert Morris is looking to add PIAA Tournament games soon, along with boys volleyball postseason contests.

Overall, Robert Morris has various features that stand out from other Pittsburgh campuses. Still, the UPMC Events Center stands as the shining testament of what the university wants to showcase.

The university must make it a tradition to host WPIAL events to help bolster the image of Robert Morris in the eyes of the community and potential future students.

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